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London’s Burning: a celebration of radical London, past and present 
1st July - 5th August 

‘Nightwalking:  A Nocturnal History of London’  with Matthew Beaumont
Wednesday 1st July, 7pm
Read more...

‘Asylum and Exile: The Hidden Voices of London’ with Bidisha
Wednesday 8th July, 7pm
Read more...

‘Rebel Footprints:  A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History’ with David Rosenberg
Wednesday 15th July, 7pm
Read more...

Remembering Laurence Housman: 150th Anniversary Memorial Lecture with Jill Liddington and Elizabeth Oakley
Wednesday 22nd July, 7pm
Read more...

‘London Overground: A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line’ with Iain Sinclair
Wednesday 29th July, 7pm
Read more...

‘Changing London: A Rough Guide for the Next London Mayor’ with Will Horowitz
Wednesday 5th August, 7pm
Read more...

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IN-STORE EVENTS at HOUSMANS

We regularly have a variety of events in the shop, and are always welcome for suggestions from authors, artists and campaigners who want to use the shop for evening events. Past events include talks, book signings, film screenings, art exhibitions and musical performances.

Click here for an archive; which includes a number of selected filmed highlights, of our previous events. Also, you can view video from some special events here.

Click the following button if you would like to directly add our events to your smartphone or desktop calendar using Google Calendar.

London’s Burning:

a celebration of radical London, past and present
1st July - 5th August


For this year’s London’s Burning season we’ve a wonderful line up of speakers, looking at subjects from gentrification, lost voices of asylum seekers, the mayorship, London at night, and a tour of the breadth of London’s rebellious past. There will also be a special event celebrating Housmans name-sake, Laurence Housman, on his 150th birthday. Full details below...

‘Nightwalking:  A Nocturnal History of London’
with Matthew Beaumont

Wednesday 1st July, 7pm

Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

This event is part of the London’s Burning Season at Housmans.

Matthew Beaumont discusses his fascinating literary portrait of the writers who explored the city at night, and the people they met.

“Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night,” wrote the poet Rupert Brooke. Before the age of electricity, the nighttime city was a very different place to the one we know today – home to the lost, the vagrant and the noctambulant. Matthew Beaumont recounts an alternative history of London by focusing on those of its denizens who surface on the streets when the sun’s down. If nightwalking is a matter of “going astray” in the streets of the metropolis after dark, then nightwalkers represent some of the most suggestive and revealing guides to the neglected and forgotten aspects of the city.

In this brilliant work of literary investigation, Beaumont shines a light on the shadowy perambulations of poets, novelists and thinkers: Chaucer and Shakespeare; William Blake and his ecstatic peregrinations and the feverish ramblings of opium addict Thomas De Quincey; and, among the lamp-lit literary throng, the supreme nightwalker Charles Dickens. We discover how the nocturnal city has inspired some and served as a balm or narcotic to others. In each case, the city is revealed as a place divided between work and pleasure, the affluent and the indigent, where the entitled and the desperate jostle in the streets.

With a foreword and afterword by Will Self, Nightwalking is a captivating literary portrait of the writers who explore the city at night and the people they meet.

 

About the author

Matthew Beaumont is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of English at University College London. He is the author of Utopia Ltd: Ideologies of Social Dreaming in England 1870 - 1900, and the coauthor, with Terry Eagleton, of The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue. He has also edited Restless Cities. He lives and walks in London.

Reviews

“One of the most brilliant of the younger generation of English critics.”

– Terry Eagleton

“Nothing less than a grand unifying theory of the counter-enlightenment.”

– Will Self

“Part literary criticism, part social history, part polemic, this is a haunting addition to the canon of psychogeography.”

– Financial Times

“He releases an ancient, urban miasma that rises from the page, untroubled by electric illumination, allowing us to inhale what Shakespeare's contemporary Thomas Dekker called "that thick tobacco-breath which the rheumaticke night throws abroad"”

– Independent

“An important and lively book”

– Times Higher Education

“A historical guide to the capital, Beaumont details everything including the 'villainous' common nightwalkers and prostitutes of the middle ages and Charles Dickens’s time as an insomniac.”

– Dazed & Confused


‘Asylum and Exile: The Hidden Voices of London’ with Bidisha

Wednesday 8th July, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


This event is part of the London’s Burning Season at Housmans.

Asylum and Exile is the result of several months of personal outreach to refugees and asylum seekers that goes behind the headlines to reveal the humanity, tragedy, and bravery of the individuals who have left everything behind to seek sanctuary from violence in the UK.

Bidisha offers moving stories of refugees who have fled war, violent persecution, or civil unrest in countries as diverse as Cameroon, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Malawi, Burundi, the Congo, and Sierra Leone. Some of the individuals have been in the UK for a few months, others for more than a decade.

Bidisha chronicles their experiences, revealing that though many used to be mathematicians, composers, criminologists, accountants, and teachers, in England, without money and papers authorizing them to work, they must work illegally as cleaners, factory workers, dishwashers, health care assistants, and at other unstable, unseen, underpaid, and grueling jobs. Their London life is one of trying to survive on five pounds a day, of interminable bus journeys across the capital, appointments with legal aid workers, and reliance on near-strangers to get a foothold with little or no support. Despite this, as Bidisha shows, their unerring humor, vivacity, talent, and will to survive is a testament to the blazing resilience of the human spirit.

Bidisha is an author, broadcaster, outreach worker, and international human rights journalist. She is the author of two novels, the travelogue Venetian Masters, and the internationally acclaimed Beyond the Wall: Writing a Path through Palestine, also published by Seagull Books.


‘Rebel Footprints: 
A Guide to Uncovering London's Radical History’
with David Rosenberg
Wednesday 15th July, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

This event is part of the London’s Burning Season at Housmans.

The radical response to conservative heritage tours and banal day-tripper guides, Rebel Footprints (Verso, 2015) brings to life the history of social movements in the capital. Transporting readers from well-known landmarks to history-making hidden corners, David Rosenberg tells the story of protest and struggle in London from the early nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century.

From the suffragettes to the socialists, from the Chartists to the trade unionists, the book invites us to step into the footprints of a diverse cast of dedicated fighters for social justice. Individual chapters highlight particular struggles and their participants, from famous faces to lesser-known luminaries.

Rosenberg sets London’s radical campaigners against the backdrop of the city’s multi-faceted development. Self-directed walks pair with narratives that seamlessly blend history, politics and geography. Specially commissioned maps and illustrations immerse the reader in the story of the city.

Whether visiting it for the first time, or born and raised in it, Rosenberg invites you to see London as you never have before: the nation’s capital as its radical centre.

 

About the author

David Rosenberg is an educator, writer and tour guide, and author of Battle for the East End (2011). Since 2008, he has led tours of key sites in London’s social and political history, especially in London’s East End, and he teaches at City Lit and the Bishopsgate Institute. He is a founder member of History from Below, an international network of activists, artists, archivists and political archaeologists. David owes his geographical knowledge of London to three years work as a van driver in the early 1980s delivering books to radical and community bookshops.

Reviews

'You haven't walked the streets of London unless you've understood the secret history of revolt, rebellion and poverty hidden all around you in its bricks and alleyways. Rosenberg takes you there as no other writer has done.' (Paul Mason)

'Informative and well-judged...There is so much that is inspirational in this book.' (Nicholas Lezard, the Guardian)

'An engaging account... [A] book of detail and passion.' (Danny Dorling, Times Higher Education)

'By offering us a guide to our radical past, Rosenberg reminds us of the strong tradition of dissent that has shaped our history and made us who we are.' (Billy Bragg)

'This brilliant book brings London’s long tradition of radicalism and rebellion to life. Using walks to show how dissent led to democracy, it is a fitting testimonial to the collective struggles of Londoners of every colour and creed. I for one will be dusting down my walking shoes and taking to the streets to find out more.' (Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the TUC)

'David has brought the streets and buildings of London alive to the real history of the city and the struggles of ordinary people. Anyone reading this will walk the streets of our city with a different view of the world, and what people can do when they act together.' (Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament for Islington North)


Remembering Laurence Housman: 150th Anniversary Memorial Lecture
with Jill Liddington and Elizabeth Oakley

Wednesday 22nd July, 7pm
Free entry


This event is part of the London’s Burning Season at Housmans.

Born a century and a half ago in 1865, Laurence Housman was a highly talented artist and critic, playwright, novelist, pacifist, social activist, public speaker and broadcaster who is consequently almost impossible to categorise. A visionary and idealist who also had the common touch, he was a gifted communicator who cared deeply about the society he lived in. In 1945 he was one of a group of pacifists who opened Housmans Bookshop, named in his honour by the Peace Pledge Union.

Laurence Housman was also one of the instigators behind the Votes for Women campaign. A star speaker, he criss-crossed the country

to address suffrage meetings. His wonderful design work included the monumental 'From Prison to Citizenship' Suffragette banner. 

 

To mark the 150th anniversary of Laurence Housman’s birth, we will be joined by Jill Liddington and Elizabeth Oakley for a night of discussion and drinks to celebrate his legacy.

Jill Liddington is author of Vanishing for the Vote: suffrage, citizenship and the battle for the census (MUP, 2014): her talk will concentrate on the important role he playes in the Suffragette's campaign.

Elizabeth Oakely, author of Inseperable Siblings: A Portrait of Clemence & Laurence Housman, will be speaking about Laurence Housman’s wider writings and numberous other acitivities.

 

About the authors

Jill Liddington is a writer and historian. Her latest book, Vanishing for the Vote, was published by Manchester University Press in April 2014.

Elizabeth Oakley is the author of Inseperable Siblings: A Portrait of Clemence & Laurence Housman, the first published study of the pair.


‘London Overground:
  A Day's Walk Around the Ginger Line’
with Iain Sinclair

Wednesday 29th July, 7pm
RSVP Essential – please email nik@housmans.com
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase


This event is part of the London’s Burning Season at Housmans.

Iain Sinclair discusses his latest book, a tour of London’s Overground network, and the gentrification and social change it has brought. Please email nik@housmans.com to reserve a seat.

Echoing his journey in London Orbital over a decade ago, Iain Sinclair narrates his second circular walk around the capital. Shortly after rush-hour and accompanied by a rambling companion, Sinclair begins walking along London's Overground network, or, 'Ginger Line'.

With characteristic playfulness, detours into folk history, withering assessments of the political classes and a joyful allegiance to the ordinary and odd, Sinclair guides us on a tour of London's newest transport network - and shows the shifting, changing city from new and surprising angles.

 

About the author

Iain Sinclair's books include London Orbital, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire, Downriver (which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Encore Award) Ghost Milk and American Smoke. He lives in Hackney, East London.


‘Changing London:  A Rough Guide for the Next London Mayor’
with Will Horowitz
Wednesday 5th August, 7pm
Entry £3, redeemable against any purchase

This event is part of the London’s Burning Season at Housmans.

Changing London have been exploring the progressive potential of the post of mayor, and crowd sourcing practical ideas that could transform the capital for the better, offering up a view of how the city might look if we reclaimed it and fashioned it based on our needs and wants.

 

Changing London have been exploring the progressive potential of the post of mayor, and crowd sourcing practical ideas that could transform the capital for the better, offering up a view of how the city might look if we reclaimed it and fashioned it based on our needs and wants.

 

‘Changing London:  A Rough Guide for the Next London Mayor’ is a rough guide for the next mayor, capturing the radical but practical ideas of the people of London with a pioneering and collaborative approach to ​​politics.

Via a small website the authors asked Londoners for ideas using the formal powers of the mayoralty and also the “super powers” – the voice, the visibility and the unique capacity to convene. This book brings together hundreds of suggestions, plus experiences learnt from cities around the world, under five big visions for London.

What would the city look like if we determined to make it the best place on earth to raise a child? Or if it was a friendly city, where neighbourhoods thrived and everybody mattered? How could we build a fair city where lavish wealth is as unwelcome as abject poverty and both have been abolished? Or maybe  a healthy city, that did no harm and tackled sickness at source? And, to lead it all, how should we revitalise and retool a sham democracy which saw only 38% vote in the last mayoral election?

Ideas range from play streets to plotting sheds, London Sundays to a Have-a-Go Festival, a permanent Fair Pay Commission, a Children’s Trust Fund and a cultural guarantee for every child, citizens budgets, a Mayor's Share in the biggest businesses and the April Vote – an annual London referendum.

These and hundreds more are not a manifesto for the next mayor but a rough guide – a glimpse of how our city could look if we dared to gaze beyond the cautious consensus that has infected Westminster debate, and if we reclaimed the city as a place we share and build together. 

This is the book the voters wrote. It is vital reading for those who would be Mayor and those who will decide.   

About the authors

David Robinson is a community worker and a father of three. He has lived in east London all his life and been involved in social change in lots of different ways but mostly worked for Community Links www.community-links.org , a charity he set up many years ago. David also co founded Shift, www.shiftdesign.org.uk and the Children's Discovery Centre.

Will Horwitz has lived in east London for seven years. He has worked as a researcher and campaigner for charities including Oxfam and Community Links, and in 2015 went back to university to study political economy. He can occasionally be found on twitter @willhorwitz

Reviews

If you love London as your city and your home, please do read this excellent book… Is the political class ready for this kind of radical democratic politics? It doesn’t matter. Don’t wait for permission or nothing will change.— From the foreword by Jon Cruddas


I greatly applaud Changing London’s efforts to widen interest in the mayoralty and the role of the mayor. I particularly like the suggestions to engage local communities and people in discussions about the mayor, as City Hall can sometimes appear remote from ordinary Londoners. — Christian Wolmar

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